New Tech Totally Eliminates Zoom and AF Noise from Video Soundtracks on the Fly

DSLRs and Compact System Cameras are becoming increasingly capable video capture devices in addition to being solid still shooters. But when it comes time to focus or zoom using the lens’ or camera’s built-in motor, you’re often left with glaringly obvious noise on your soundtrack.

So far manufacturers have tackled this problem by introducing silent focusing motor lenses, but one group of engineers is taking a firmware-based approach that seems to work just as well (if not better) and might someday soon do away with zoom and AF noise entirely.

The tech is called VideoZizzle, and judging by the demo videos provided, it does a great job removing zoom and AF noise without affecting the rest of the audio. A commenter once said Canon’s USM lens AF sounded like there was a rodent inside your glass. Well, consider VideoZizzle your very own firmware rodent trap.

The tech was created by the company Silicon Valley Enterprises (SVE), and it consists of an adaptive algorithm that can be dropped into just about any camera without any need to mess with the hardware. Just add it in and VideoZizzle will recognize the offending noise and remove in on the fly as the video is being recorded.

The comparison at the top shows what the system can do with little in way of background noise and just a little bit of speech. Here’s another showing VideoZizzle at work with a good bit more ambient noise at play:

For SVE, the plan from here is to license this code out to major camera manufacturers so that they can implement it into their products. If it works as well as the demos suggest, it might even prompt companies like Canon to do away with video-specific STM lenses in favor of this firmware-based solution (although, admittedly, there’s more to STM than lack of noise).

Although there’s no guarantee that major manufacturers will jump on the Zizzle bandwagon, we can see no reason why they should hesitate. A piece of code that automatically removes annoying AF and zoom motor noise in real time? Yes, please.

(via John Nack on Adobe)

  • Renato Murakami

    Interesting solution… but I’d be a bit cautious on believing manufacturers will jump into the bandwagon. Just have to see how much most dSLR manufacturers have often plain ignored tons of dSLR videographer’s requests over the years.
    Dual audio recording workflows didn’t become a staple of dSLR video for nothing after all.
    But hey, perhaps Magic Lantern staff could work on something like that.